Tabletop Cold Fusion Reactor

  1. Okay. I'm doing a science fair project on we're kiling the Earth and that changing simple everyday things could help save our dying planet. My experiment is going to be cold fusion vs fossil fuels and to perform that experiment I need to build a simple cold fusion reactor. Anybody got any ideas. It needs to be simple enough that a fourteen-going-on-fifteen-year-old girl with little engineering experience can do it.
  2. jcsd
  3. phyzguy

    phyzguy 2,495
    Science Advisor

    If I (or anybody else on PF) knew how to build a simple cold fusion reactor, we would patent it, sell it, and retire with our billions. Cold fusion doesn't work.
  4. so that's why the u.s. has already proven that cold fusion does work.because it doesn't exist right. hahahahahaha :tongue:
    if cold fusion is too expensive or impossible for me can you tell me how to create a simpler fusion reactor
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  5. phyzguy

    phyzguy 2,495
    Science Advisor

    The only man-made fusion reaction that anyone knows how to build today that generates more energy than it consumes is a hydrogen bomb. Presumably that is a little too spectacular for your science fair.

    There is hope for practical fusion reactors in the future, but today it is just hope.
  6. what about pyroelectric fusion
  7. phyzguy

    phyzguy 2,495
    Science Advisor

    There a lots of techniques that generate small amounts of fusion, but all of them consume a lot more energy than they produce. Pyroelectric fusion is one of them. Is that what you are looking for for your science project? Another idea might be to build a mock-up of a future fusion reactor. You can see what one might look like at this link.
  8. jim hardy

    jim hardy 5,460
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    you might , if you haven't already, spend some time at

    and read Philo Farnsworth's patents. they're linked at that site.
    He was a vacuum tube designer who came up with idea of electrostatic confinement instead of electromagnetic. Vacuum tubes work on elecrical fields so it was right up his alley.

    while plenty of folks are making neutrons in their basement , nobody has yet used one to drive his Tesla coil backward and make useable elctricity.

    As phyzguy says break even is still just a hope. i hope you'll be the first.

    old jim
  9. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Put simply, cold fusion is not possible because the ions have to get past a coulomb barrier to fuse, which takes a LOT of energy. Ions at near room temperature or even a few hundred degrees above this are FAR from being able to fuse. There have been a few claims that this barrier can be gotten around, but so far those methods have not shown themselves to be effective.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  10. ZapperZ

    ZapperZ 30,735
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It's ironic that you are doing this because "we kiling the Earth", and yet, your project could kill you and those around you.

    Note that for many of these so-called "cold fusion" reactions, a non-negligible amount of neutrons are generated (look up why you don't want this!). I would suggest that before you consider "building one" (which I don't think you can and will), you ponder the PHYSICS of what is involved FIRST. This is what a responsible person does, and this is what one has to consider when one proposes to build something. You simply can't blindly build something to do something, when you have no clue what that second something is!

    If I were a judge on that Science Fair (and I have been a judge at several of these), I would have asked you FIRST for the physics, and THEN how one intends to achieve that. If you tell me you built it first and THEN start to think of what the physics is, I would have downgraded you enough that you won't land anywhere near the top half of the Fair. This applies to all projects, not just to "cold fusion".

  11. I’m not a cold fusion enthusiast, expert or defender, but as far as can perceive, people still don’t understand how it is possible the ions to pass through the coulomb barrier to fuse. I believe the answer can be the electron capture followed by beta decay.
  12. etudiant

    etudiant 931
    Gold Member

    For a science project, you have some latitude, so the 'fusion vs fossil fuel' topic is ok.
    The reality is that you can buy a toy steam engine and generator from Edmund Scientific to illustrate the fossil fuel approach, just as you can (if you have the skills) build a fusor, but getting it powerful enough to do anything substantial such as lighting a flashlight bulb is currently beyond us.
    So your project can usefully point out the massive engineering effort needed to make even simple fossil fuels work and then highlight that we are not even yet at the proof of principle stage for fusion, where all efforts to date use way more energy than they produce.
    In this context, I think it is useful to take a good look at Fukushima as a way to appreciate the scale of what energy production needs. It would clarify the gap between a lab demo and a real world solution.
  13. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Or perhaps Quantum Tunneling? But this effect only ramps up to significant levels at temperatures similar to the core of the Sun.
  14. Google the Rossi device. Which may be a hoax, or may be confusion, but is certainly interesting.
  15. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Let's wait until it's proven to be real or a hoax, then we can discuss it. Until then no one really knows what's going on in the machine so there's nothing much to discuss.
  16. OmCheeto

    OmCheeto 2,240
    Gold Member
    2014 Award

    Is considered reliable?

    I always look for requests for $ when sniffing out hoaxes.

    If someone can guarantee it's not a Nigerian princess trust, I'll front the money.

    oh what the hell, ban me.
  17. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    I'll hold the money for you.:wink:
  18. The other keyword to google is LENR, not cold fusion. Low energy Nuclear Reactions have shown Q>6
  19. etudiant

    etudiant 931
    Gold Member

    I think Rossi is a hoax.
    All the demos I've seen mentioned always have a power source nearby which is more than enough to produce the effects proclaimed as due to his device.
    If he can sustain a 10,000 watt effect while only plugged into a normal 15 amp 110 volt line I'll be more interested.
    Meanwhile, I would not want to get involved even to hold his escrow.
  20. I've always been fascinated by this - what are the salient differences between the age-old Hydrogen-bomb and approaches to sustained fusion which allow the former to work while the latter fail?

    Firstly, all Hydrogen bombs are usually triggered by a fission component, aren't they? Therefore shouldn't approaches for sustainable fusion necessarily involve nuclear fission?
  21. Hydrogen bombs basically use the "hydrogen" as a minor heat generator, but huge fast neutron generator. The fast neutrons then cause fission in a blanket of low-enriched uranium. 99.9% of an H-bomb's energy is from Fission.
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